In the last post on sales strength, I asserted that strong salespeople project a confidence supported by expertise.  There isn’t anything unusual in that claim.  Who doesn’t believe that expertise breeds sales confidence?

But there’s a second important form of product confidence: conviction.  The strong salesperson has the conviction – the steadfast belief – that their product provides value to end users that is important, unique and incontrovertible.  Every sale is approached with this mindset and it has strong effects:

  • Strong salespeople seek to identify the unique values in their product that best address the pain points disclosed by their prospects.  Their conviction isn’t blind faith, it is grounded in experience and supported by stories relevant to the prospect.
  • Strong salespeople don’t focus on selling against their competition.  Conviction takes their product from a source of comparison, from value defined by what everyone else does, to value defined by what the product does for the end user.
  • Strong salespeople don’t view a prospect who has no need for their product as a failed sale.  They simply acknowledge that these aren’t viable prospects.  As a result, strong salespeople tend to recover quickly from rejection.

It’s one thing to say that you must buy into what you sell.  But what makes it a source of sales strength is the unshakable conviction that, for the right customer, the product is needed and superior to their other options.

An Aside on Confidence

For some people, the confidence I describe is a slightly long 4-letter word and the equivalent of arrogance.  To think that a product has value even when it isn’t all things to all people… is arrogant.  To believe that the product deserves a place of primacy on the menu of a user’s services… is arrogant.  To have any expectation that the prospect would change their business practices to incorporate the product… is arrogance.

What people with this view exhibit is not wisdom, it is lack of conviction.  Imagine you are selling custom motorcycles.  If you sell custom motorcycles, you don’t offer an economy model (all things to all people).  Since the motorcycles you sell are high quality and the price reflects it, you prepare it to be ridden with pride, not purchased and hidden (primacy).  When you sell a motorcycle to a client, you train them to properly care for their purchase in ways that differ from the care of the minivan in the garage (changing practices).  Having these expectations is NOT arrogance.  It is confidence in the product and a set of reasonable assumptions associated with the sale.